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When Mikel Landa speaks, he usually has something interesting to say. That was certainly the case on the second rest day at the Tour de France.
With the Tour knotted up in the closest race in history, Landa insisted he’s here to help Chris Froome win a fourth title — although he wouldn’t mind finishing on the podium as well.
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“We are teammates, not rivals,” Landa said. “If it doesn’t hurt Froome, I’d love to be on the podium in Paris. I feel good, but I cannot do anything to hurt his chances.”
Landa shot down speculation in the Spanish media that there is some sort of rift with Froome.
“We have a good group of people, and there is a good feeling,” he said. “Something strange would have to happen to Froome for me to be the [leader] … and face-to-face, he is stronger than me, and he would beat me in the final time trial.”
When Landa dishes, he doesn’t disappoint. Speaking of his future, he’s equally to the point.
“I do not want to be second again,” he said. “That’s very clear that I do not want to see that again.”
At Astana, Landa was second fiddle to Fabio Aru and Vincenzo Nibali. At Sky, he’s been behind Froome and Geraint Thomas.
Landa reportedly has several big offers on the table, but he has been linked to Movistar. Despite the presence of Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde, the team is reportedly offering Landa a leadership role for the Giro d’Italia.
“I don’t know if my objective will be the Tour,” he said. “It’s not the same coming to the Tour to try to win than to be a helper. It doesn’t fit me as well as the Giro.”
For the remainder of the Tour, Landa promised to follow team orders. On Sunday, he sat up to help tow Froome back to the front group in a critical moment of the race.
“We cannot relax and we have to go on the attack,” he said. “Individually, the strongest is Bardet. I don’t see Aru and Urán as active. Froome isn’t as strong as he was in 2016, but this course hasn’t offered him many opportunities. I still believe he will win.”